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At a glance: Dealing with water debt and how trust funds might help.
Reading time: 2 mins
This summary covers England and Wales
To view information that covers Scotland, please click here.

Is water a priority debt?

Water arrears are a non-priority debt. This is because water companies cannot disconnect or restrict your domestic water supply if you are in arrears.  

A water company may try to disconnect you if you do not reply to their letters. It is important to reply and tell them you are still living at the property.

What should I do if I have water bill arrears?

If you are struggling to repay your water bill or have arrears, contact your water company and try to reach a repayment agreement. Work out how much you can afford to repay. You can use our Digital Advice Tool to work out your budget

If you pay your water bill monthly, but over less than 12 months, ask your water company to reset your payments over 12 months. This reduces what you pay each month.

  • Income Support
  • Pension Credit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Universal Credit

Water trust funds

Many water companies run charitable trust funds which may be able to pay off or reduce your arrears.

Eligibility for trust funds depends on your circumstances. They are more likely to help in the following situations:

  • you are on a low income or benefits.
  • you have significant money problems.
  • there is a change of in your circumstances such as unemployment, the death of a partner, relationship breakdown or illness.

Ask your water supplier if they have a trust fund.

Social tariffs and restart schemes

Most water companies have social tariffs. These are special rates for people on low income or receiving certain benefits. You may be able to get a discount of more than 50% on your water bill for a time.

Some water companies run restart schemes. You start a regular payment plan and the water company matches your payments. If you keep up the payments, the rest of your debt may be written off.

WaterSure and WaterSure Wales

If you are on a low income you may be able to get help through WaterSure or WaterSure Wales. These are schemes available to households with a water meter, which limit your bills. If you use a lot of water, your bill will go down with either scheme.

Learn more about this topic

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can read our in-depth guide.

Read in-depth-guide

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